Shareholder/employee benefits subject to FBT and not a deemed dividend - The Assistant Treasurer announced that the Government will amend the proposed legislation dealing with deemed dividends from private companies to ensure that payments made to shareholders in their capacity as employees will not be subject to the new provisions and will continue to be dealt with under the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation.
Reforms to treatment of super on marriage breakdown - The Prime Minister announced reforms to the treatment of superannuation in the event of marriage breakdown. The objectives of the reforms are: superannuation should be included in the division of marital property; there must be clear rules for valuing superannuation; women and men should be encouraged to settle their own affairs, equipped with full information; reforms should be consistent with retirement incomes policy and the type of superannuation fund; and the reforms should minimise the complexity and cost associated with the process.
Treatment of public unit trusts carrying on sub-underwriting - Tax Determination TD 98/4 was issued by the Australian Taxation Office. This ruling provides that if a public unit trust carries out sub-underwriting of share issues as part of its business in a way where it is not for the purpose of investing or trading in shares, then the sub-underwriting is not part of a business that consists wholly of eligible investment business and the business is a trading business. If the other conditions are satisfied, then the public unit trust will be taxed as a company.
Change to tax treatment of radio frequency spectrum licences - The Treasurer announced that:
the tax law will be amended to allow for the amortisation of the acquisition cost of domestic spectrum licences over the 15 year effective life of the licence. The amortisation deduction will be allowable only to taxpayers who have acquired spectrum licences pursuant to the Radiocommunications Act 1992; and
the Government announced three measures to assert its taxing rights over income from the use of spectrum where a spectrum licence is owned by a non-resident.
Report on the review of Tax Law Improvement Bill (No. 2) 1997 - The Parliamentary Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit released an advisory report on Tax Law Improvement Bill (No.2) 1997 (containing the rewrite of the Capital Gains Tax provisions).
The Australian Taxation Office released two FBT publications - The 1998 "Update to Guide for Employers" and the "Guide to Completing your 1998 FBT Return".
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